Europe Trip


Journal From Europe
April 16th through May 5th, 2009


Thursday, April 16th
We arrived in Chicago four hours before our departure time of 4:00 pm.  Our taxi driver said he came here from Iraq.  It was interesting to hear an Iraqi say what he thought of the war.  Somehow, I don’t know if he was being completely honest with us.  He knew James is in the Air Force.  We flew with Air India.  It was almost a nine hour flight.  The nice thing about international flights is that everyone gets their own television.  The funny thing was that most of the movies were chick flicks like “Mama Mia” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”.  Needless to say, James wasn’t thrilled with the selection.  We all got a little irritated towards the end because we couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep.  At one point we were somehow all three intermingled with each other.   Too bad we aren’t rich and able to have first class seats.  James and I decided it would be a good idea for us to just stay awake all night so that when we got on the plane, we could just sleep the whole time and feel well rested when we arrived in Frankfurt.  Instead we got two hours of sleep before we left the house.  James didn’t even start packing until 2:30am.  We went to bed at 4:30 and woke up at 6:30, ready for our drive to Chicago.  At least I was lucky and got to sleep on the car ride to Chicago.

Friday, April 17th
Frankfurt is seven hours ahead of Chicago, so when we left at 4:00pm in Chicago, it was 11:00pm in Frankfurt.  Around 6pm we were served dinner.  You had a choice of chicken, fish, or vegetables.  Charlie and I got the last chicken with curry, rice, pudding, a roll, and something that tasted like sour cream.  James ended up choosing the fish.  It looked gross to me but he ate all of it.  About an hour before our flight landed, we were served breakfast.  I only ate parts of it.  It was a little scary looking.  After we went through customs, we got our luggage and rental car.  Then we were off to our first stop, Rothenburg ob der Traur.  We stayed at Hotel Gasthof zum Breiterle.  The address was Rödergasse 30 91541 Rothenburg o.d.T.  We paid 65 Euro for our room.  It is a nice little inn.  We arrived in town at 11:45 am.  We went to the inn to check in.  We got our things situated in the room.  You really just had the necessities.  It was nice not to have a television in the room.  The bathroom was tiny but clean.  Next we headed out to find a bite to eat.  We ended up getting Döners.  They were delicious.  It was just lambs meat with lettuce, tomatoes, and some cold white sauce which reminded me a little bit of ranch dressing.  We spent 8 Euro for two Döners and a Sprite.  Next we went to two different banks before we found a place to exchange our money.  We gave them 400 Dollars and got 286 Euro.  After lunch we went back to the inn to get a couple hours of rest.  By 5:00pm we were up and ready to go.  We took a walk around the wall which surrounds the city of Rothenburg.  It was beautiful to look down on the roof tops of the houses and stores in the town.  The fact that it was raining gave it a dark, renaissance feel.  We decided to have dinner at the hotel.  It was also wonderful.  It cost James and I, 20 Euro.  After dinner we went to have a tour with the Night Watchman.  It was the same man who we saw on the Rick Steve’s show.  He was really good.  The weather was a bit rainy and cool all day.  We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel.  We decided to just head to our rooms.  James and I decided we wanted to warm up so we took a shower in the smallest shower I have ever seen, while trying not to touch the walls.   Awesome!  Now we are heading to bed.  It’s 10:30 pm (4:30pm at home)

Saturday, April 18th
We woke up at 7:30.  We had our free breakfast at the hotel.  It was mostly rolls and lunch meat.  I love bread though, so it worked for me.  After breakfast we went down to take pictures of the city of Rothenburg.  We went to the Town Hall Tower.  It was a beautiful view.  James went up to the roof for two Euro.  Next we went to the hotel to pack up because we had to be out by 11:00 a.m.  We loaded up the car then headed down to the Crime Museum.  It was about three Euro per person.  There was a lot of crazy stuff in there.  It made me very happy to live in today’s day and age.  Lots of torture devices and tools, masks to embarrass criminals or even sometimes just people who gossip too much.  It was still raining today so we purchased two umbrellas from the two Euro store.  Of course they were cheap and not well built.  James’ broke the first time he opened it.  Now we are on the road.  We are about 180 km outside of Baden-Baden.  The country side is beautiful.  We arrived at our hotel in Baden-Baden around 3:00pm.  The address is Geroldsauer Stasse 130 76534 Baden-Baden.  We found our rooms.  They were a bit larger than the hotel in Rothenburg.  We even had a sitting area.  We rested for a few minutes,  then we were off to the city.  It took us about 10-15 minutes to get to the city.  We decided to try a Döner at a different restaurant.  It was delicious once again.  We walked around for several hours then went back to the hotel to take a nap.  We had dinner scheduled at 8:00 p.m. at the hotel restaurant.   Dinner was great!  I got French Onion Soup.  James got Black Forest Potato Soup.  Then we got Apple Strudel with ice cream for dessert.  It was pricey but amazing.  We also ordered waters and they were 4,40 Euro per bottle.  The meal for James and I was 29 Euro.  We paid our bill and went back upstairs to enjoy our spacious room.  We were hoping that all the rain was over.

Sunday, April 19th
We woke up at 7:00 this morning.  I looked outside and saw how beautiful it was.  Not a cloud in the sky.  We got showered and ready, then the church bells right outside our window started ringing for eight o’clock.  James got a video of it.  We went down to breakfast.  It was the average breakfast.  Bread, lunch meat, cheese, orange juice, and milk.  This place even had honey and Philadelphia cream cheese!  You don’t realize how much you love certain foods until you are somewhere where you can’t have them.  After breakfast we packed up and checked out.  It was 142 Euro for both rooms together.  Ours was 75, Charlie’s was 55, plus tax.  We headed to the casino in Baden-Baden.  There were tours from 10-12 each morning.  We were going to go on one but we found out it would be 16 Euro a person.  We decided to pass and head out toward Simon‘s.  We had gotten a tip to go to Heidelberg.  So we went and it was amazing.  There was a castle there which was absolutely beautiful.  There was a wonderful expanse of garden surrounding the castle.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m sure pictures won’t do it justice.  We hung around for several hours.  They were having a wine tasting in the square.  There were so many people in the streets.  Flowers had bloomed.  It was just beautiful.  We had pizza for lunch at 11Euro and a 1 Liter Sprite for 2,50 Euro.  It was very tasty pizza.  After we ate, we headed back down to the car and were off to Simon’s house.  It took us about three hours to get there.  The view from the autobahn was breathtaking.  You could see castles on the hills.  We saw dogs herding sheep in a field.  That is not something you typically see in Cincinnati.  We got to Simon’s at 4:15 pm (16:15).  He had a fuBball match at 3:00pm (15:00),  He said he would be here around 5:30pm (17:30).  We drove down to the city and walked around for a bit.  Now we are back sitting in the car in front of his house.  When Simon got home we all went inside and got situated.  Later we went down to the Rhine and crossed the bridge into Köln (Cologne).  I met Sandra down there.  She was a very smart and upbeat person.  She was very excited to use her English speaking skills.  Then we went home, exhausted.  When we got back we relaxed for a little bit.  We were able to get on the internet.  It is ridiculous how addicted everyone is to technology these days, myself included.  After that, I think all of us probably fell asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows.  

Monday, April 20th
We slept in a little bit, then we went off to Schlossberg to see the castle and it’s surrounding area.  It was amazing.  We had to walk about ¾ of a mile up the mountain.  We saw a man whose house was on the side of the mountain.  He was up high on a ladder painting his house.  Had the ladder slipped, he would have had no hope.  We ate at a little café next to the castle.  I got waffles.  They put ice cream, whipped cream, tapioca pudding, and cinnamon on them.  I loved it except for the tapioca pudding.  After we walked down the mountain to our car, we headed back to Simon’s.  We all got cleaned up and drove over to Simon’s parents house in Leverkusen.  They made so much food.  Steak, chicken, sausage, some kind of cold potato dish, vegetables, garlic bread, regular rolls, beer and soda.  After dinner they gave us each a shot of some type of liquor.  They told us it would settle our stomachs after we stuffed them with food.  The shot was horrible and I never want to do that again.  I have never tasted anything that foul.  Simon’s brother Alex and his girlfriend Jenny were also there.  His mothers name is Karen and his step father is Guenther.   After we finished dinner we all went for a walk.  They had a walking trail right up the street which runs through a large field.  Germans are a lot more active than Americans since everything is so close to them.  They walk and ride bikes everywhere it seems.  We left his parents house a little later and went to the ice cream parlor that James had visited last time he was in Leverkusen.  It was wonderful, of course.  Sandra met us there.  The owner was talking to James, trying to figure out if his business would survive in America.  By the end of the conversation, he told us he is coming to America.  He gave us all a free scoop on a cone and a free ice cream sandwich in addition to the ice cream we had already ordered and eaten.  Needless to say, I slept great again that night.

Tuesday, April 21st
We slept in again, a luxury of vacation.  Around 1:00pm (13:00) we decided to get outside and enjoy the beautiful day.  We walked down to the town to find somewhere to eat.  We decided on a restaurant.  Charlie and I tried our first currywurst.  It was alright but it was swimming in curry.  We went for a walk after that and bought some beer with lemon for James and some medicine for my sore throat.  We went back to Simon’s house to get ready for the fußball game.  It was Leverkusen vs. Mainz.  There were so many people there.  We borrowed jerseys from Guenther.  Mine had the teams signatures on the back of it.  It was also white so when we ate a bratwurst, I was so afraid to drip on the jersey.  I was successful.  They all did chants the whole time.  There was so much energy in the stadium.  It was the most exciting sporting event I had ever been to.  Leverkusen won 4-1.  No one scored until the last 15 minutes.  Leverkusen scored first then Mainz scored with 3 minutes remaining.  Then we had to go the 15 minute intervals.  We scored 2 in the first and 1 in the second.  That was for the semifinals for Germany.  Now Leverkusen plays in the finals next month.  The parking lot was a disaster.  I don’t have a clue how long we were completely stopped.  By the time we got home, it was after midnight.  I fell asleep as soon as I laid my head down.  

Wednesday, April 22nd
We got up at 9:00 this morning.  It took about an hour to get packed up, then we got directions and we were on our way to Köln/Bonn Airport.  Our flight left at 13:30.  We flew over the alps.  It was absolutely fantastic!  By the time we took the subway, then the bus back to the hotel, it was time for dinner.  When we arrived at the hotel, they told us that we were going to have to wait to get checked in because they had given our room away to someone who was staying at the hotel for a conference they were holding.  We lucked out and they gave us an upgraded room.  It was wonderful because we were all three going to be in one room and with the upgraded room, we had two separate rooms to sleep in.  They were originally only going to let us have it for one night but they ended up letting us stay there the whole time.  The balcony was huge!  It stretched the length of the bedroom and living room.  The bathroom was also beautiful.  We walked about a mile from the hotel to an Italian Restaurant.  It was good.  The pizza was very thin and did not have much sauce on it.  Delicious though.  We went to bed early that night.

Thursday, April 23rd
We went to the center of Rome, James took us out of the subway right out in front of the Coliseum.  We also saw Arco di Constantino, Castel Sant’ Angelo, the archeological area that was blocked off, the Pantheon, P’zza Navona, and Tempio Adriano.  We ate pizza at a little pizza place which James had eaten at last time he was there.  It was good and only 6 Euro for both of us to eat.  It was nice that they have water fountains all over the place in Rome.  They are not water fountains like we have here.  Most of them just look like a bunch of rocks with a pipe sticking out of it.  But it is drinkable water, so that’s all that matters.  We got some gelato near the Fountain de Trevi.  It was amazing!  We had dinner at a little café.   It was about 11 Euro per person for not all that much food.  We went back to the hotel after that.  We took the city bus because we missed our hotel shuttle.  We were exhausted when we got back so we took a bath and then we were pooped. J

Friday, April 24th
Today we headed out early.  We went straight to see the Coliseum.  It was larger than pictures made it seem.  I would really like to learn more about the coliseum and its history.  Then we were off to get a piece of pizza at the same cheap place near the Fountain de Trevi.  We all tried different kinds.  Then we went and got Gelato again.  We also went to the Vatican.  It was a lot of walking and beautiful rooms.  We went to the Spanish steps.  The flowers were in bloom and they were gorgeous.  We saw a couple different people who had deformities, riding around on skateboards, using their hands to push them along.  It was so sad.  There were several people dressed up and standing like statues.  One was a drunk man with his luggage, passed out in the street.  He was really good.  When someone would tip him, he would take a swig of his fake beverage.  James said they had become more strict since the last time he was in Rome.  You are no longer allowed to eat next to the Fountain de Trevi.  He also said that when he had visited the Sistine Chapel, every one was snapping pictures using a flash.  This time they were very strict about being silent and not using a flash at all.  We went to another little restaurant for dinner.  They had a special on Lasagna which Charlie and I got.  It was 5 Euro.  James got a Manicotti dish.  Both were delicious.  We just found out today that our breakfast is included with the hotel room.  We missed it the first two days.  That would have been nice to know.  We had seen a menu on the bedroom door listing the prices for breakfast.  We didn’t know that the menu was only for room service.

Saturday, April 25th
We went to breakfast this morning at the hotel.  It was our last day in Rome and we decided we wanted to relax a little bit.  We went to the catacombs.  It was a fun experience getting there.  We took the subway as far as it could take us, then we walked a nice long walk the rest of the way.  Luckily we did a good job of reading the map.  It was about a three mile walk.  Right before the driveway to the catacombs, there were some really cool old buildings.  The catacombs were interesting.  It only cost us 6 Euro a person and we got a tour in English.  He said that at one time there were 500,000 bodies down there.  They made the catacombs because it was cheaper to bury in layers under that ground than it is to use so much land above ground.  There were several different levels to the catacombs.  They only took us two levels down.  We found out that there is a bus that would have taken us very close to where the catacombs are.   Next we headed over to St. Peters Basilica.  It was absolutely amazing.  It didn’t realize it was so large.  There were a lot of people out on the street playing music.  Guitars, drums, flutes, singing, tap dancing, and even a couple of accordion players.  They were all very good.  We ate at a restaurant that gave you a pizza, drink, Brochetta, and one scoop of gelato  for 10 Euro.  You don’t get to choose the flavor.  We didn’t really like the flavors we got.  We walked for a while then got our last gelato.  We made it back to the hotel around 6:00pm.  

Sunday April 26th
The taxi picked us up at 5:30a.m.  Our taxi driver kept making wrong turns.  I’m sure he was doing it on purpose to make a little extra money.  He was really nice though.  He said he had lived in California for a short time.  Our flight left at 7:00a.m.  We arrived in Paris at 9:00a.m.  It took the bus one hour to get to the metro stop.  We got on the subway and we were there by 10:30 a.m.  They let us check in early.  The room was not what we had expected.  There was a full sized bed in one room for me and James and there was a hall connecting it to Charlie’s room, which had two twin beds.  We got situated, then we went out in the city.  We found a place with Rotisserie chicken.  It was 10 Euro for more food than we could eat. You could tell that it was a man place to eat.  It was a meat and potatoes type place.  There was only one other woman there, other than myself.  Next we went to Notre Dame and the Museo de la Army.  We got a crepé with Strawberry Jam.  It was delicious.  It was kind of like a very thin pancake.  We only had a couple of hours at the museum so we were a little rushed.  Then we walked to the Eiffel tower.  It was larger than I had imagined.  Next we went to the subway to head back to get something to eat in the cheaper area.  We got our meals for 10 Euro.  Chicken skewers with rice, bread, salad, and fries.  We were so exhausted by this point so we stopped at the market to get some fruit.  Then we went back to the hotel.

Monday, April 27th
This morning we took a 30 minute train ride out to Versailles.  You couldn’t go inside so we walked around the gardens.  The building was gigantic and it was surrounded by this amazing garden.  There were lots of trees, fountains, and empty space.  We left Versailles and ate a cheap lunch for 5,50 Euro.  James kept talking with a British accent while we were there.  While we were eating, James was talking in his accent.  Little did he know that the couple nest to us was British.  From there we went to the Louvre.  It was huge!  I don’t think we even make it through the whole thing.  We were only there for a couple of hours.  There were a couple of  gypsies at the Louvre.  It’s funny because they all use the same reason for why they need money.  They say they need to visit their family.  I knew that while I was in Paris, I would probably see some people wearing high fashion clothing.  There were a lot of people dressing in pieces of clothing that don’t look like they should go together.  But I guess that is the style there.  To each his own.  Around 5:30 p.m. we headed back to the room.  It was pretty cold today so my throat started acting up again.  For dinner we went to that Turkish restaurant that James lived on last time he was in Paris.  We ordered a huge 12 Euro meal.  It had five different meats, rice, salad, bread, and fries.  When they brought the food out, it was the wrong thing.  It was basically the same thing minus all the meat.  When James went up to tell them that we were missing the meat.  They said it would be right out.  That is when we realized how little English the workers spoke.  They brought out a whole order of what we had try to order the first time, not just the meat that we were missing.  Thankfully someone in the restaurant spoke a little English.  After about 10 minutes, the owner was trying to give us our food for free.  But James paid for what we ate and our drinks and we were on our way.
Tuesday, April 28th
This morning we tested out our subway path to the train station to make sure we allowed enough time to get there for our train back to Cologne.  Then we went over to the Eiffel tower.  We walked up the first two flights.  That is as far as they would let you climb up.  That was about half way up the tower.  Then we took the escalator up to the very top.  It was amazing how high up it was.  The air was so cold so we got hot chocolate.  It helped to sooth my sore throat.  The stairs up caused quite a burn in my thighs.  Going back down was quite a bit easier.  Afterwards my legs felt like jello and I couldn’t keep them from shaking.  We went to a little deli and got a sandwich with ham and Swiss cheese.  We also go a pastry.  It kind of seemed like a sugar cookie with some kind of cream cheese topping and raspberries on top.  Then we walked over to the Arc de Triumph.  There are people all over the place selling these little Eiffel tower figurines and key chains.  They have them all looped on to one chain.  In just the area under the Eiffel tower, there were probably 30 of these people.  They constantly follow you, bugging you to buy something.  It is hilarious when the police come because they all start blowing their whistles and then scatter in different directions.  It’s almost like a little game for them.  After the Arc de Triumph, we walked down Charles De Gaulle where all the expensive shops are.  They had the largest Sephora I had ever seen.  I went in just to see how the prices compare.  I pay $22.00 for my face powder and in Paris it was 23 Euro, which is roughly $30.00.  We stopped on that street to use the restroom at McDonalds.  It was two stories.  It was fancy compared to the McDonalds stores here.  However, that bathrooms were not so nice.  Mine had no toilet seat and it was very dark in there.  I might as well have been using the restroom by candlelight.  We were tired by this point and we knew we wanted to come back out for a walk at night, so we took a nap.  During this time, James and I realized that we have been in five countries in our first year of marriage.  Oh, and we also have seen the Simpson’s in several different languages.  We also watched some television before we went out again.  There were only two channels that would come in.  One was the British news station and the second is a Snooker Pool Tournament.  All the news channel has been covering is the Swine flu.  It started in Mexico and has now spread all over the world.  So far there are 50 confirmed cases in the U.S. and only 4 of which are in Europe.  So maybe it is safer to be here for as long as we can.  After we rested up, we went out to find a bite to eat.  We got more pastries and a baguette.  Then it started raining so we went into the closest building we could find.  We sat there for about 30 minutes before the rain slowed down.  We went over to the Eiffel tower to take pictures and wait for the sun to set so we could see the light show.  We stood there for an hour and about every five minutes, one of those guys would come up and try to sell us things.  James finally got too annoyed with them so we went to find a bathroom.  The bathroom was located near one of the legs of the Eiffel tower.  As soon as we walked out, the light show started flashing.  We ran to try to get a picture but by the time we did, it was over.  Then we decided to go for a walk down the river.  We walked down a ways then crossed a bridge so we could walk on the other side.  While we were on the bridge, the light show started again.  We had an okay shot.  On the bridge we met a man.  He asked us to use his phone to take a picture of him.  It didn’t turn out so we took his picture with our camera and we are going to email it to him.  His name was Octavio.  He is a priest from Columbia.  After our walk we caught the subway back to the hotel exit.  It took us about 45 minutes because the way we had planned to take was closed.  We stopped at the little mart before we went into the hotel to pick up some food for breakfast.  We packed up as well as we could, then we were off to bed.    

Wednesday, April 29th
We woke up at 5:00 this morning.  We finished packing and we were  off to the subway.  The subway opened at 5:30.  The train came about 5 minutes later.  It was sad to see all the homeless people that were sleeping at certain subway stops.  We arrived at the train station with plenty of time.  We ate our breakfast and boarded the train.  It left right on time at 6:55.  We had two stops to make after Brussels.  We reached the station in Köln .  I had to use the restroom.  I had to pay 1 Euro.  When you entered the restroom, you go in a stall with a green light over the door.  When you are finished, you leave the stall and the light turns red.  Then someone comes and cleans it.  While they are cleaning, the light is orange.  When they are finished, the light turns green again.  Then Simon picked us up and we headed to Leverkusen.  We got settled in.  Then we went to an indoor pool close to Simon’s.  The water was nice and warm.  They had a water slide there.  It was one with a closed top.  Those kind freak me out.  It turns out, it was a larger tube which allowed you to sit up all the way in it and still have clearance for your head.  The awesome thing about it is that you can do whatever you want on the slide.  In America you have to wait for each individual person to go through.  In Germany, James could go and then I could go just a few seconds after him and try to catch him.  Next we went back to Simon’s and we made dinner.  We had breaded pork chops with a creamy mushroom sauce and green beans.  It was delicious.  After we cleaned up, we just relaxed and went to bed.

Thursday, April 30th
Today we had toast with ham salad on it for breakfast.  Then we got ready and drove to Köln.  We walked to the Köln dome.  We walked all the way to the top.  It was a really small spiral staircase.  It was 500 steps.  It was a tight squeeze when someone was coming up and someone was going down at the same time.  I bought a pair of shoes for 5 Euro.  Then we went to the chocolate museum.  We got a chocolate bar and some chocolate fudge.  We were going to go through the museum but the prices had gone up so we decided to just get a dessert at the restaurant in the museum.  Then we headed home.  When we got there, Simon went to soccer practice.  The rest of us walked down to a little pizza joint.  Then we got some ice cream.  It didn’t even compare to what we had in Italy.  When we got back to Simon’s, it was time to get ready to go out.  In Germany, May 1st is a big party.  We went to a club called Candy.  It sounds trashy but it is not.  There were a lot of people who looked like people I couldn’t necessarily see myself hanging out with.  A lot of the men had their hair slicked back and dressed like they have money.  Vicky said that for the most part, it is all an act.  It was fun there.  Everyone of Simon’s friends danced the whole time whether they were drunk of sober.  Most of the music was in English.  There were a lot of songs that were in English that I had never even heard before.  James told me they are European club songs.  He hadn’t heard them before either.  James had a couple beers.  I didn’t have any.  When you want to purchase drinks, you have to buy tokens and you redeem those tokens for drinks.  You also have to give a token for the glass you are using but when you give them the glass back, they return a token to you.  Their clubs here don’t close until 6 or 7 am.  Then there is another club in K öln that is open from 8-11 am.  Simon said that people will stay until the first one closes, go to eat breakfast, then go to the next club.  Anyway, aside from my extremely uncomfortable shoes, it was a lot of fun.  It is also nice because not too many people tried to mess with any of us, unlike clubs here.  Another difference, it was huge!  There were strobe lights everywhere which was kind of annoying.  Part of the time there was a chick singing.  She was really good.  Simon wanted to leave around 3 am.

Friday, May 1st
We got home around 4 a.m. and went straight to bed.  We woke up around 11:00 a.m..  When we looked out the front window, we saw a tree that was tied up on the railing of Simon’s neighbors across the street.  It was decorated with bright streamers.  In the middle of the night for May 1st, the guys here will decorate a tree and put it in front of a girls house to let them know they like her.  Around 2:30 pm, we went to the park to meet up with Simon’s friends.  When we got there, people were sitting on their blankets, drinking beer between games.  Vicky, Anna, Sandra, and Miriam were all at volleyball.  Vicky was pretty good, she played in high school.  She said they don’t have school teams that compete.  You just do it for fun on the side.  Vicky went to Cleveland for a couple weeks while she was in high school.  Then last year she was in Chicago for a whole year.  She also traveled to New York and several other places.  Her English was very good.  We played sand volleyball until about 5:00 pm.  Next we headed to Simon’s moms to pick up food for dinner.  We made spaghetti with meat sauce and a salad made of cherry tomatoes, corn, and dressing.  Then we played some FIFA for a couple of hours.  By then our stomachs were settled so Simon made us German waffles.  They were delicious.  I put powdered sugar and whipped cream on mine.  James added strawberry jelly.  We watched Home Alone 3 in German.  I had never seen it before so that was interesting.  At least we watched something where you can figure out what is going on without being able to understand the language.  We went to bed around 10:00 pm.

Saturday, May 2nd
This morning we got up and made what was left of the waffle mix for breakfast.  We drove up to the Netherlands.  We hadn’t planned on going to a fourth country.  It was exciting.  It was only supposed to take a little over an hour to get there from Simon’s house.  But it took a little longer since we were weighing down Simon’s little red Ford Fiesta. J The Netherlands were nice.  We walked around a town just over the border.  They had a market in the city center because it was Saturday.  We bought some pastries to take back to Simon’s.  They were round and flaky.  The inside had pudding in it but it really just tasted like very moist pastry.  They were delicious and has a subtle lemon taste.  We got fish and French fries at one of the stalls.  It was delicious.  We had to go all over the place so James could find a shot glass.  We had to go to the bathroom in one of the larger stores, which is where we found the shot glass.  We had to pay .25 Euro a person to use the restroom.   We drove back from the Netherlands and rested for a while.  Simon and I made dinner before we went to the bowling alley.  We ate chicken with a creamy cheese sauce and peppers.  We put it over noodles.  It was delicious.  After dinner, Simon and Charlie went to the store.  James and I stayed back. J  We met Sandra and Sarah there.  They had a glow bowl type thing going on.  There were two floors to the bowling alley.  We played two games.  It was funny because Simon got the lowest score the first time and the highest score the second game.  I think by the time we got home, it was about 12:30.

Sunday, May 3rd
Today we rested until we went to Simon’s fuBball game at 3:00.  It ended up ending in a tie.  0-0.  Next we went to Simon’s mom’s house again.  She made steak, mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, and mandarin parfaits for dessert.  It was amazing.  We all left stuffed.  They tried to get us to take one of those shots again but we all declined.

Monday, May 4th
Today we got up, had some breakfast and relaxed.  We went out in the afternoon.  We went to ride on this train type vehicle that hung from above the river.  It follows the river for a couple of miles.  It cost us 11 Euro for all four of us to ride.  It felt like a large, closed in, slow roller coaster.  I couldn’t help but think that at any moment we could have plummeted into the water.  Simon said it had happened once.  Thankfully, we made it safely.  We went to McDonald’s and tried a turkey burger.  It comes with a sweet sauce on it.  It was strange how the menu was so different over there.  We took the same train back to the car.  Then we drove to an old church that was about 30 minutes from the train.  It was the smallest church we had seen yet in Europe but it was by no means small.  After that we went to a waffle house for dinner.  It wasn’t anything like I was expected.  James and I got waffle with mozzarella cheese, ham, and tomatoes.  Simon and Charlie got one with ground beef and cheese.  It was strange not eating waffles with butter and syrup.  However, it was delicious.  When we got home, we watched a movie called Transporter.  It was very good, and in English.  In the middle of the movie we decided to make waffles.  I don’t know what I was thinking trying to eat again.  I had just stopped feeling sick from stuffing my face at dinner.  But I ate two of them and they were delicious.  Only one more day left of our European travels.  L

Tuesday, May 5th

Today is our last full day in Germany.  It is one o’clock and we are just relaxing.  We were on a website this morning called addicting  We were playing this game called the Impossible Quiz.  It was really tricky and some questions didn’t have any rhyme or reason.  We only made it to question 72 out of 110.  If you get three questions wrong you have to start over.  We eventually gave up.  At this point, I just wish I was home because the anticipation of such a long flight is not fun.

Wednesday, May 6th

We are home now and our amazing trip is now just a memory and lots of amazing pictures.  I wrote this journal in hopes that I will be able to remember our wonderful European adventure. J

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